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Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Page: 12443

Mr MURPHY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade) (9:33 AM) —The constituents I represent in my electorate of Lowe have cause for optimism in the light of the different approach to aviation policy that has been foreshadowed in the Rudd government’s aviation green paper, released yesterday by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and member for Grayndler, the Hon. Anthony Albanese. The owners of Sydney airport have historically treated my constituents with disdain, reflecting the former government’s culture of indifference to the concerns of my constituents. The green paper demonstrates the Rudd government will not adopt a culture of indifference to the suffering of residents of the inner west. The document states that the government is committed to improving dialogue between affected communities and airport operators. It also states that the responsibility for aircraft noise management should be shared more equitably by stakeholders, including airlines and airports.

It is clear that the airline industry and Sydney airport no longer have a mandate to run roughshod over my constituents of Lowe. Nowhere was this more evident than in an article titled ‘Sydney Airport waits for green light’, published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 1 December 2008. Some of the criticisms levelled at the minister in the article, by sources that were unnamed, include the minister’s (1) rejection of any relaxation of the Sydney airport curfew, (2) rejection of Bankstown Airport as a de facto second Sydney airport and (3) refusal to lift the cap of 80 flight movements an hour. The minister’s so-called critics may condemn him but my constituents applaud and thank him. The minister’s strong stand against the owners of Sydney airport provides some protection for my long-suffering constituents. Anthony Albanese’s stand is a very important step in restoring some balance to the aircraft noise debate in Sydney.

Community engagement is an essential aspect of noise management. That was never understood by the previous government but it is by the Rudd government. The government has developed the Transparent Noise Information Package and WebTrak, which will provide transparent data on the number and times of aircraft movements, the noise level of individual aircraft and real-time information on aircraft flight paths in and out of Sydney airport. In relation to that data, the Rudd government is not interested in inheriting the previous government’s deceptive spin to hide the truth from the public. Moreover, the government is determined to engage in honest pursuit of an appropriate site for a second airport for Sydney outside of the Sydney Basin rather than irresponsibly and negligently stretch the capacity of Sydney airport beyond reasonable limits. Propositions in the green paper will provide my constituents with some cause for optimism in what has been an intractable battle for a fairer distribution of aircraft noise for the people of Lowe, whom I represent.